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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 1241-1246

Effects of decompression joint Governor Vessel electro-acupuncture on rats with acute upper cervical spinal cord injury

1 Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
2 Department of Spine Surgery, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Ming-Sheng Tan
Department of Spine Surgery, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing
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Source of Support: This study was supported by the Capital Characteristic Clinical Application Research Projects of Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Plan of China, No. Z16110000516009, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.235062

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Decompression is the major therapeutic strategy for acute spinal cord injury, but there is some debate about the time window for decompression following spinal cord injury. An important goal and challenge in the treatment of spinal cord injury is inhibiting or reversing secondary injury. Governor Vessel electroacupuncture can improve symptoms of spinal cord injury by inhibiting cell apoptosis and improving the microenvironment of the injured spinal cord. In this study, Governor Vessel electroacupuncture combined with decompression at different time points was used to treat acute spinal cord injury. The rat models were established by inserting a balloon catheter into the atlanto-occipital space. The upper cervical spinal cord was compressed for 12 or 48 hours prior to decompression. Electroacupuncture was conducted at the acupoints Dazhui (GV14) and Baihui (GV 20) (2 Hz, 15 minutes) once a day for 14 consecutive days. Compared with decompression alone, hind limb motor function recovery was superior after decompression for 12 and 48 hours combined with electroacupuncture. However, the recovery of motor function was not significantly different at 14 days after treatment in rats receiving decompression for 12 hours. Platelet-activating factor levels and caspase-9 protein expression were significantly reduced in rats receiving electroacupuncture compared with decompression alone. These findings indicate that compared with decompression alone, Governor Vessel electroacupuncture combined with delayed decompression (48 hours) is more effective in the treatment of upper cervical spinal cord injury. Governor Vessel electroacupuncture combined with early decompression (12 hours) can accelerate the recovery of nerve movement in rats with upper cervical spinal cord injury. Nevertheless, further studies are necessary to confirm whether it is possible to obtain additional benefit compared with early decompression alone.

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